Latest output figures paint mixed picture for UK construction

Allan Callaghan

Output in the UK construction sector has contracted for the sixth consecutive period in the three-month on three-month time series but increased month-on-month in November, official figures have revealed.

The latest output figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that the three-month on three-month output fell of 2% in November 2017, representing the largest fall since August 2012.

There were three-month on three-month decreases in both all new work, and repair and maintenance, which fell by 2.1% and 1.7% respectively, although private housing new work grew by 1.2%.

Despite the overall three-month on three-month fall, construction output increased by 0.4% month-on-month in November 2017.

The month-on-month increase in construction output occurred as a result of a 0.5% rise in repair and maintenance, and a 0.4% increase in all new work, the ONS said.

Allan Callaghan, managing director of Cruden Building, said: “It’s disappointing to see a fall in output activity in the sector. In contrast, at Cruden we are seeing continued confidence in the housing market and have already secured a strong order book for 2018.

“Although access to skilled labour and rising material costs remain industry-wide concerns, quality, affordable homes are in high demand and it’s encouraging that the Scottish Government has placed housing as a top priority, with a commitment to build 50,000 affordable homes in Scotland by 2021.

“The construction industry is vitally important to the Scottish economy and key its sustained growth will be investment in future talent. We continue to play our part through our Cruden Academy. This continuous programme of investment in our employees’ lifelong learning and training, coupled with and our successful modern apprenticeship programme, ensures that we have a solid pipeline of skilled employees to help us face any challenges and take advantage of new opportunities in the future.”

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